Colunga, Sawyer Commit To Henderson State University

Colunga, Sawyer Commit To Henderson State University

The successful offensive combination of outside hitter Nayeli Colunga and setter Samantha Sawyer will remain teammates at the NCAA level – both accepting scholarship offers from Henderson State University in Arkansas.

The two-time First Team All-Central Valley Conference selections were recruited by other four-year universities, but both enjoyed their recruiting visit and decided to join forces again.

"We really liked the campus and it reminded us a lot of PC," Sawyer said.

"It's nice that we get to stay together for two more years."

Porterville College head coach Dale Henderson was glad his co-captains found a university where they could land starting positions and earn a quality education.

"We are very proud of Nayeli and Sam, and everything they accomplished here at PC," Henderson said.

"They were both a key part in leading PC volleyball to new heights. They helped us to our best state rankings and they were part of the winningest sophomore class in school history (37 wins)."

After being selected as PC Rookie of the Year in 2012-13, Colunga (Strathmore High School) was voted PC Pirate of the Year in 2013-14. She ranked second in team kills, digs, assists, blocks and aces. Colunga also played on the women's basketball team as a sophomore and became the starting forward.

"I am going to miss everyone at PC, but we're excited about playing at the next level," Colunga said.

"I'm glad I decided to attend PC and play for coach Dale. We were part of a great program and it helped all of us prepare for the next chapter in our careers."

Sawyer (Exeter High School) was voted PC Sophomore of the Year at the all-sports banquet. In both of her seasons, she led the CVC in assists. Last season, her average of 10.36 assists per game ranked fourth in the state.

Both student-athletes were also outstanding in the classroom – earning honor roll status each semester. Colunga will major in biology and Sawyer will pursue a career in the medical field.

All six of the sophomores from the 2013 team have announced plans to transfer to four-year universities. In addition to Colunga and Sawyer, also earning athletic scholarships were defensive specialist La Tishsa Carballo (University of Maine Fort-Kent) and libero Randi Story (Calumet College of St. Joseph); and remaining in California are defensive specialist Naomi Kasimoff (UC Irvine) and outside hitter Kristine Lopez (Cal Poly).

PC finished the season with a 17-9 record (12-2 CVC, second place) and rankings of No. 8 (Northern California) and No. 16 (State).